The Republican Party as a Bifactional System, 1896-1964
The factional struggle within the Democratic Party that contributed to electoral realignment in the 1960s was a long process in which, over a period of about forty years, the south gradually lost power within the party. The factional struggle within the Republican Party was as long and severe, but its resolution in 1964 much more sudden, reversing historic patterns of Republican politics. This chapter examines the factional politics of the Republican Party prior to 1964.
The Republican Party has always had a simpler factional structure than the Democratic Party, even if the ideological divisions have been as intense. Whereas the Democratic Party is a multifactional system, the Republican Party is fundamentally a two-faction system. This fact can be attributed to three observations comparing the Republicans to the Democrats.
First, until the mid- twentieth century when the Democratic solid south began to break up, the south never represented an autonomous faction within the Republican Party, as it did by its defense of white supremacy within the Democratic Party. Republicans had little or no